I am so excited to have been included in the October 2014 issue of The Hand magazine. Per its mission statement, "The Hand Magazine is dedicated to being the world’s premier forum for innovative and experimental uses of reproduction-based media." What makes this special for me is that I love experimenting and hearing about what others are doing. In this issue, I am in good company with my former COD instructor S. Gayle Stevens and fellow student Becky Jane Davis, among many others. Check out the cover page and our images below - of course you would have to purchase the magazine to get the full effect and read the interviews and articles. My favorite is "Intersecting Methods: Science & Print Collaboration" by Matthew McLaughlin.
Earlier this summer, I was selected to participate in an upcoming exhibit at Latitude Chicago featuring Recent BFA Graduates. It is truly an honor to represent the College of DuPage as a recent graduate in this exhibit; and a wonderful opportunity to display one of the pieces from my Ink on Unryu project. This invitation included an introduction to Latitude; the opportunity to experience their high-end digital media lab; and to learn about their opportunities, programs, and events for emerging photographic artists in the Chicagoland area.
The Exhibit is being hung today, and will open for viewing just in time for tomorrow night's Event "Artist's Convo: New Landscapes" featuring Allison Grant and Anastasia Samoylova. What a great opportunity to see this group exhibit, to meet the other artists, and to participate in the Artist Convo discussion. Unfortunately, this is where world's collide for me, meaning I will not be able to attend.
These days, my outside world revolves around 1) my photographic art world, which includes membership in several groups, participation in Art Fairs, solo and group exhibits (my own and others); and 2) my Service work, which means primarily the Roselle Lions, and the Eastern Region of District 1-J to which we belong. So, Wednesday, August 20 represents the collision of those worlds, and the reason that I will miss the Event at Latitude as well as Frank Jackowiak's Pop-Up Show "Illumination" at the Cleve Carney Art Gallery at the College of DuPage McAninch Center.
No, this will not be an Art Night or Photography Night for me. This will be a Service Night, the District 1-J Lions Eastern Region Meeting at Elmhurst Hospital; where the Elmhurst Lions will be kicking off a significant fundraiser for the Hospital's proposed Diabetes Outreach Center. For one night, the art world will have to wait.
The College of DuPage Annual Juried Student Art Exhibit closed on Sunday, and I went over there yesterday to pick up my entry. I was very excited to receive an Honorable Mention for this work, titled "Prairie Power: Winter's End." Presented as a 24x36 canvas wrap, this was one of a series that I created for my Color II class last spring, a celebration of the power and endurance of prairie flowers over the harsh midwest winters.
Happily, spring has finally arrived in the Chicago area, and I love seeing the beautiful colors of the tulips, daffodils, and budding trees. At the same time, I miss the stark shapes of bare trees and dried flower remains from the winter.
Congratulations to my fellow students in the Photography program, Charles Loggins III for his 1st place and Gabriela Guganovic for Honorable Mention. I am in good company. For more information on the exhibit, see the blog entry in Silicon & Silver.
The fotoMuses spring 2014 Exhibit "Hopes and Dreams" is now open at the Bloomingdale Park District Museum. For this exhibit, I chose to illustrate a dream sequence of the young Ingenue Laura. "In the Clouds" is the transition from wake-state to her dream, which, like most dreams, includes tidbits of personal fancy and classic stories. The exhibit runs through June 7, with a complimentary Artists Reception on Sunday May 18, 2 - 4 pm.
About a month ago, I received an email from a friend and fellow fotoMuse member Noriko Buckles. She had seen a Call for Entry for the exhibit "2013 Flower Power" to be held at 1650 Gallery in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Noriko knows that I love flowers and said briefly "When I saw this I thought of you. I hope you will consider submitting your work."
I was in the middle of school, focusing on my latest project, and wasn't really paying attention to any contests at the time. But who could resist such encouraging words from a friend? I was experimenting with some new techniques and styles; maybe this would be a good time to test them out in public.
To my surprise and delight, one of my entries, called "Pansies" was accepted. The opening reception is tomorrow night, Saturday, December 14. Unfortunately I will not be there, but I encourage anyone in the LA area to stop by and check out the exhibit. 1650 Gallery is located at 1650 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, California, My pansies are in good company. But don't take my word for it - click on the link above and see for yourself. I would love to hear your comments.
Sometimes things don't go according to plan. but the outcome can still be a pleasant one. I like to call these "happy accidents." These cute little turtles illustrate what can happen when you have an open mind.
My husband accompanied me recently on a visit to the Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington, part of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Able assistant that he is, his job is to carry the tripod, "hold this" and keep an eye out for anything interesting. There were lots of seagulls, ducks, and geese; but no egrets to be found. He was the first to spot the turtles, and I chose these two, who seemed engaged in private conversation.
So, fellow photographers, when you go out on a photo shoot, do you have a specific subject, mood, or setting in mind? Or do you just go exploring, to see what is out there? How often do you find something unexpected that you like, perhaps, even more than your original concept?
I am very excited to be a part of this year's Art in the Barn Juried Fine Art Show. This is the 39th year that Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital has held this event. In addition to the fine art, there is great entertainment, food, and children's activities. Bonus: 20% of sales are donated to the Hospital, so in addition to a fun event and great art work, your purchases will assist a worthy cause.
So come on out, browse through the barns and outside tents; and don't forget to stop and say hello. I will be in Tent #19, just outside the north end of the lower barn. As always, I will have a few new pieces, as well as many old favorites. Hope to see you there - this is my final Art Fair of the season.
I am pleased and honored to be participating in several Photography Exhibits this spring. Each has its own ‘flavor’ and there will be Artist(s) Receptions. I would love to see my friends and followers at any one of these shows. Here are the details:
1. My Solo Exhibit “Flowers with Attitude” is currently on display at The Photo-Four Gallery, located on the South Suburban College Campus, 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL.
The Artist’s Reception is on the closing date, Tuesday, March 26 at 12:30.
2. “As We See It”, the collective vision of the College of DuPage Photo Ex Club (www.facebook.com/photoexclub), will be the “Featured Artist” exhibit at Gallery 200 at 200 Main Street in West Chicago from April 4 through April 28. This collection features over fifty current works of fourteen students, former students, and COD residents.
Opening Reception is on Friday, April 5 from 6 - 9 pm.
3. The fotoMuses (www.fotoMuses.com) are currently working on their upcoming exhibit “The Individual Photograph.” This exhibit of approximately fifty images will be on display from May 11 through June 22 at the Bloomingdale Park District Museum. The Museum is located at 108 S. Bloomingdale Road in Blooomingdale, IL.
The Artists Reception will be on Sunday, May 19 from 2 - 4 pm.
I am proud to be part of these three very different exhibits, each with a unique theme, each showcasing the photography of my friends and colleagues as well as my own works.
Now that I am on my way to being organized (more about that later), it is time to move on to the business of being a photographer. This is probably the most difficult aspect of transitioning from hobbyist to professional, but it is essential. There is so much to learn and think about: marketing, promotional materials, website building and management, financial, taxes, and more. While it is challenging, it can also be fun and creative. Did I really say that? Yes, I did; and here are a few examples. Check them out for yourself, and let me know if you did or did not find them to be informative, inspirational, and helpful in any way.
Online Webinars / Seminars / Podcasts / Audio Resources
Creative Live - One of my favorites. They have a regular schedule covering a variety of topics relative to photography, business start-ups, and other peripheral topics of interest to entrepreneurs, artists, and others. Recently they have completed or scheduled several topics related to startups. They deliver live content, with interactive chat rooms; all free for the watching. If you missed it, they will do free re-watches. People from all around the world are listening in and participating. The courses can also be purchased, usually for under $150, some as low as $29. Discounts are given if you purchase during the live broadcast and for a short time after. Courses usually last anywhere from 1 to 3 days.
For example, Jasmine Star ReSTARt http://www.creativelive.com/courses/restart-jasmine-star (3rd and final session will be on March 6).
In January, Creative Live topics included Building a Profitable Portrait Studio with Bambi Cantrell, the Right-Brain Business Plan with Jennefer Lee, and many others.
Kristen Kalp Brand Camp http://www.brandcampblog.com/
I just started following this, seems there are a lot of spin-offs with good information.
Sarah Petty’s The Joy of Marketing http://www.thejoyofmarketing.com/
Sarah Petty has great ideas and her enthusiasm level is tremendously uplifting.
There are lots of resources available on the internet, facebook, Youtube, etc. Many of them can be found just by checking out the three examples above.
Hands-on / in person
If you prefer hands on, in-person, there are lots of opportunities in the local Chicago area.
Local Colleges: Chicago has many of these, with some great photography programs. I am currently taking classes at the College of DuPage. (A great bargain tuition-wise, and a great staff in the Photography Department). Here is a starting point: http://www.cod.edu/photo/
In addition to a variety of technical courses, there is the Professional Practices course for Photographers. This semester, there is a Career Boot Camp, a 5-week intensive class jointly sponsored by the Photography, MPTV departments. These classes include guest speakers, many of them alumni of the program, and always actively pursuing their craft. There are field trips, lots of homework assignments with specific and practical applications, and great networking opportunities.
Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) - http://www.selfemploymentinthearts.com/.
This weekend, February 22 and 23, is the 13th Annual SEA Conference. Hands-on practitioners in Performing, Literary, Media and Visual Arts fields will share their knowledge and experience during this 2-day jam-packed conference. Topics include finding clients, alternative income options, crowdfunding, networking, financial management, and many other subjects of interest to those wishing to pursue a career in photography or other artistic areas.
SPE (Society for Photographic Education)
This year’s SPE conference, the 50th, is being held in Chicago, at the Palmer House, from March 7 - 10. https://www.spenational.org/conference. While the focus is not on the business aspects of photography per se, this is a great place to network, meet other professionals and students, and learn from many educator/practitioners. In addition to individual presentations, panel discussions, and caucuses, there are exhibits and portfolio reviews.
Filter Photo Festival
The Filter Photo Festival http://www.filterfestival.com/ also deserves mention here, since it provides a connection point between producing art and presenting it in a public way. This is a ‘community’ whose mission is to “connect emerging, mid-level, and professional photographers from across the country with gallerists, educators, curators, editors, and other elite photo professionals, focusing particularly on those of the Midwest.”
Coinciding with the SPE conference, the Filter Festival is running the exhibit Archetype Drift, from March 6 - 23; opening reception on March 6. Covering new methods of photography-making, the exhibit is held at Johalla Projects on Hubbard Street in Chicago. The Filter Festival website explains “Johalla Projects was established in the fall of 2009 by Anna Cerniglia as a venue for emerging and mid-career artists.”
This weekend, offerings include Thursday, February 21, at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) where Curator Allison Grant will give a guided tour of original landscape photography from the MoCP permanent collection; including works from Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, Terry Evans, Mark Klett, An-My Le, Richard Misrach, and Eliot Porter. Other events include exhibition talks on Friday, February 22, at the Milwaukee Art Museum and reception for “Subway” series at the Kasia Kay Art Projects on Aberdeen Street in Chicago.
If these are too ‘short-notice’ for you to participate, mark your calendar for the annual Filter Photo Festival event in downtown Chicago on September 25 - 29. This includes workshops, lectures, tours, panel discussions, networking events, and portfolio reviews - all designed to help emerging photographers get to the next level.
One final thought - there are many ways to learn about photography and the business of photography. Just as we can learn from teachers, peers, professionals, and others about what makes a “successful” image, we can learn from associates, professionals, entrepreneurs, and even clients about what makes a successful photography business. What worked for someone else may not be the thing that works for you, but there are plenty of ideas and techniques out there to choose from; and there are plenty of generous people in all of those categories who are willing to share what they know and have learned.
How about you? What are some of your favorite resources for getting your photography business on a path towards success?
The accompanying photo was taken by my husband. I was busy putting on vision-distorting glasses so I could ‘see’ what it is like for a vision-impaired person to bowl. Not only was it was very enlightening, I think it actually improved my game. I am sure there is a lesson in there that pertains to photography as well.
But first, let me explain that I don’t really bowl. Once a year I join other local Lions for the District 1-J Bowling event. In my case, that entails launching a heavy cylindrical object down a narrow alley, with the intent of knocking down a set of ten oddly-shaped wooden things called ‘pins.’ On either side of the alley are two gutters. Unfortunately, my bowling ball spent more time in the gutters than it did impacting the bowling pins. As much as my brain says to throw the ball straight down the alley, I end up throwing across my body with the unhappy result of the ball heading for the gutter on the left hand side. When I try to compensate, the ball ends up in the gutter on the right hand side.
And so it went for the first two games - at one point, I may have set a record of six gutter balls in a row. Then I took a trip to the other end of the bowling alley, where they had the vision-impaired bowling set up. They put rails to hold onto and to guide your approach; and they put bumpers up on either side of the alley, taking the place of the gutters.
A friendly lady offered me the choice of either blind-fold or heavy vision-distorting glasses. I chose the glasses. Then she took my arm and guided me over to the bowling balls. I chose the most colorful one, a task that proved easier than finding the finger holes. Then she put my hand on the railing and left me on my own. I looked down towards the pins. I could see the light wood color of the floor, and at the end of the alley some white linear shapes that I assumed were the pins. Instead of trying to be so perfect, worrying about form, finding the little arrows on the floor and such, I just aimed the ball as straight as I could towards the white shapes that were about 60 feet away. No pressure, just relax, and let it go. The bumpers would protect me. And others.
To my surprise and delight, I ended up with a spare - much better results than when I could actually see what I was doing. Even better, once we returned to our normal lane, with normal bowling conditions, and without the vision-distorting glasses, my third game was much improved. One theory says I just got better with practice. Another theory says that I needed a break. A third theory says that the vision-impaired bowling results gave me the confidence that I could do it. Whatever the reason, with a little coaching from some Lions who really know how to bowl, and my new-found confidence, I ended up with a strike and a spare or two, and a much higher score than the first two games. Yes, I still fell back into the gutter a couple of times, but nowhere near the extent as the earlier games.
So, what does this have to do with photography? I think that sometimes we just need to step back, stop trying so hard to be perfect, and enjoy the moment. Try something new. Look at things with a different set of eyes. Get out of your comfort zone and just see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I would love to hear about your eye-opening experiences, either in the new year or years gone by.